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News 212 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Global food imports 5% more expensive

Global food import bills are increasing, partly due to soaring demand for biofuels, according to FAO's latest Food Outlook report. Global expenditures on imported foodstuffs look set to surpass US$400 billion in 2007, almost 5% above the record of the previous year.

Rising prices of imported coarse grains and vegetable oils – the commodity groups that feature most heavily in biofuel production – account for the bulk of the increase. Import bills for these commodities are forecast to rise by as much as 13% from 2006, the report said.

Expensive feed ingredients
More expensive feed ingredients will lead to higher prices for meat and dairy products, raising expenditures on imports of those commodities. In several cases, such as for meat and rice, larger world purchases are likely to drive import bills up.

In the case of sugar, generally high and volatile prices could lead to smaller import volumes, which is likely to result in a drop in the cost of global sugar imports, the report said.

Record-high international freight rates have also affected the import value of all commodities, putting additional pressure on countries' abilities to cover their food import bills.

Related links:
FAO
Food Outlook Report

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